Saving Goals and Taking Names

Soft-spoken off the field, the goalkeeper for the women’s soccer team makes her presence known on the field with her consistently impressive performances.

Meghan Marhan has been the starting goalkeeper for NYU for the past two years. (Via NYU Athletics)

During the past two seasons, women’s soccer starting goalkeeper Meghan Marhan has become a key player for the Violets, establishing a reputation with shutouts and game-saving plays.

The Stern junior was awarded the starting role last season after a promising rookie campaign in which she presented herself as a defensive stronghold in the four games she played. In her sophomore season, Marhan made a career-high 11 saves in a 1-0 victory over the University of Chicago and was named First Team All-UAA and IAAC Fall Honor Roll. She currently holds the top spot for the highest save percentage and fewest goals allowed for any goalkeeper in NYU history.

Despite all of her personal success, Marhan remains focused on the overall performance of the team.

“I honestly don’t focus too much on my own personal things,” she said. “Because in the long run, I don’t think that’s important.”

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The Glen Ridge, New Jersey native started playing soccer when she was in fifth grade, always taking her position in-between the goalposts.

But a few years down the road, Marhan did not have the most conventional recruitment experience. Despite playing soccer, lacrosse and basketball in high school, athletic recruitment was not at the front of Marhan’s mind early in her high school career.

“I did stop playing goalie for like two years in high school when I didn’t think I was going to play in college,” Marhan said. “Then going into my senior year, I kind of had a change of heart and decided that I did want to give it a try.”

In addition to adjusting back into the game after a few years off, Marhan also had to navigate the technical aspects of recruitment. She was a bit late to the recruiting game, with many high school athletes beginning the process in their junior year ⁠— sometimes earlier. Marhan started attending various college camps at the beginning of her senior year. She was at a camp at Columbia University when she first caught the attention of the NYU women’s soccer team coaching staff.

“I was really swayed by the coaches because I really liked them as a whole and I met some of the old players and really liked them and the team dynamic,” Marhan said.

Marhan considers her teammates her best friends and motivators who help her balance the demands of academics and athletics. She even cites recent alums and former NYU teammates as constant sources of support.

“Because it is New York, [players] stick around after they graduate,” Marhan said. “So they’re such a good resource, they’ve been through all four years. So I actually do seek them out a lot for advice.”

The encouraging relationship between Meghan and her team is mutual, with CAS senior and center forward Alex Benedict describing her teammate as “the sweetest person, right from the start.”

“Though she was quiet, we bonded immediately over our mutual love for clothes and shoes,” Benedict added.

As a goalkeeper, it is crucial for Marhan to have command over the team as she observes the game from the end of the field, shouting out instructions to her teammates.

“[Marhan] has developed such a presence on the field,” Benedict said. “She directs the team from the back line to the forwards and she helps keep the team organized. Meg is a huge part of our collective success.”

As she continues to hone her technical skills, Marhan also believes that she can continue to improve in her role as a leader on the team.

“Being on the soccer team, you have to learn to work with so many different personalities,” she said. “So that’s definitely helped my teamwork abilities. And then being a goalie, I’m expected to communicate throughout all the practices, all the games. So my leadership and my communication have definitely skyrocketed since high school. And that’s really helped me step out of my comfort zone.”

Just four games into the 2019 fall season and Marhan is already off to a strong start, with two shutouts and a few key saves under her belt. As her confidence continues to grow, the sky’s the limit for Marhan as she begins the second half of her collegiate soccer career.

A version of this article appeared in the Monday, Sept. 16, 2019, print edition. Email Maria Levine at [email protected]

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